Silvia Khachatryan (C Tr. ‘20) and Laura Hovakimyan (C Tr. ‘20)
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AUA Alumnae Translate Sune Sevada’s Story “Warher”

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YEREVAN, Armenia — American University of Armenia (AUA) alumnae Silvia Khachatryan (BAEC ‘20) and Laura Hovakimyan (BAEC ‘20) embarked on the translation of Artsakh-born writer Sune Sevada’s short story “Warher” (“Տատերազմ” in Armenian) in early September 2020. Back then they could not even imagine that in just a couple of months each and every word and expression they came across in the story would become so relatable and would awaken such deep emotions in the hearts of the readers. The translators confess that they are glad they translated the story before the 2020 Artsakh War broke out because they managed to avoid being sidetracked during the translation process. 

“What helped us stay true to the original text was our familiarity with the author way before getting the opportunity to translate her story. Both of us are Sune Sevada’s loyal Facebook followers, where we get to know her not only as a writer, but also as a young woman who shares her experiences and thoughts with her audience. So, we might say that contemporary technology made it easier for us to understand the writer and to convey her words and the emotions that she wanted to pass on to her readers more accurately,” remarks Khachatryan.

The translators describe this experience as an incredibly rewarding and pleasant work process where the mentor, author, editor, and translators worked in synergy trying to complement one another and achieve perfection together. 

“We would like to say a huge THANK YOU to our dear professor Shushan Avagyan for affording us this incredible opportunity, Tamar Boyadjian, editor of the Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies, for guiding us through the whole beautiful journey, and Sune Sevada for trusting us with the translation of her story and helping us express her thoughts more accurately,” elaborates Hovakimyan. “These are the people that guided us to take this beautiful opportunity, empowered us throughout the whole journey, and were always ready to share their professional insights with us.” 

Khachatryan and Hovakimyan also acknowledged each other’s contribution to the overall success of the translation: “We put our different writing and translation styles aside and turned our friendship into a special memory and partnership.”

The translation of “Warher” was published in the Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies (Vol. 27, Issue 2) and can be accessed online.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.